Grading Ben Bernanke

If Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's goal was to appear to be in control of the press conference, to control the supposedly rapid Washington press corp, and to lay out some rationale for his policies, than he should be pleased with his performance. By most any standards, it was a fairly sedate affair. Stocks rose.

What about the lack of conviction that inflation was a problem?

Mr. Bernanke repeated his comments that much of the effects of higher commodity costs would be "transitory," which infuriated inflation hawks. They simply don't believe in him or his policies, and there was nothing he was going to say, short of recanting his position, that would please them.

The dollar continued its downward trend, and precious metals continued to move up.

I think it's important to note that Bernanke has stuck to this position; he fretted much more about the slow economic recovery than about inflation.

His closing sentence was directly squarely at the American public and not at the Washington press corp: he noted it was "hard to blame the American public for being impatient" about the slow pace of the economic recovery, but that "the pace will pick up over time and the U.S. will return to being one of the fastest growing and dynamic economies in the world."

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